A 1953 ad in the Jam-e-Jamshed Gujarati newspaper lists the daily change of menu specialties at PAC Confectioners for the festive week before Spring Equinox (Jamshedi Navroze) celebrated by Zoroastrians on March 21
First up is Gowalia Tank Dairy, opened 70 years ago by Ahmad Sahid Vora. His son Ayaz says they supplied milk, dahi, paneer, lassi and, finally, bestselling grilled sandwiches – carb treats so tasty, even fitness guru Mickey Mehta can’t resist them.
Past the dairy, Parsi Amelioration Committee Cooking and Confectionery (PAC, now at Tardeo) sold cutlets, wine biscuits and crumble-fresh nankhatai, shortbread Persian chefs learnt kneading from the Dutch docked in Surat.
Delbar Mendis shares that her grandmother Jerbai, whose husband Sir Noshirwan Engineer was the first Indian Advocate General, founded PAC in 1938 to groom self-reliant women.
Further into Forjett Cross Lane, Rajasthani Mahila Mandal has empowered women since 1956. My eyes watch a dozen of them cleanly pound spices and roll papads. My nose leads to their shop, aromatic waves of these masalas, sherbets and pickles wafting strong. “Our range is better than home-made,” Mandal treasurer Uma Seksaria swears, impossibly perfect as that sounds.
With product manufacture, sewing and computer classes, Hindi and English schools, the institution holds medical clinics and civic awareness programmes.